WASHINGTON, Sept 9: US President Barack Obama urged Muslims, particularly those in America, on Thursday to donate generously to Pakistan’s flood recovery funds on Eid.
“On this Eid, those devastated by the recent floods in Pakistan will be on the minds of many around the world,” said Mr Obama in his Eid message.
“To help in the tremendous relief, recovery and reconstruction effort for the floods, all Americans can participate by donating to the Pakistan Relief Fund at www.state.gov,” he said.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a similar appeal on Wednesday. “The pictures we see coming out of Pakistan are painful images of human suffering at its worst. In surveying the lives and landscape affected by this disaster, we see 20 million members of the human family in desperate need of help. This is a defining moment — not only for Pakistan, but for all of us,” she said.
The United States is now providing $258 million to assist with relief and recovery efforts, which does not include considerable in-kind and technical assistance.
Congratulating Muslims around the world on Eid, President Obama said: “Ramadan comes to an end, Michelle and I extend our best wishes to Muslims in the United States and around the world on the occasion of Eidul Fitr.
“On behalf of the American people, we congratulate Muslims in the United States and around the world on this blessed day. Eid Mubarak,” he concluded.
Although a mere formality for his predecessors, issuing messages on such occasions has also become a political issue for Mr Obama who is accused by his opponents of being “a closet Muslim” and is condemned by conservatives for his efforts to improve America’s relations with the Islamic world.